|Blake Chris and Chauncey will try to change the Clippers history|
As a long-time long-suffering Clippers fan (and there are many who are going to claim this but I along with my son Bryan and Clipper Darrell are probably the only real longtime Clippers fans), I am warning everyone that as wonderful as this may all seem, it is wise to proceed with caution.
Here are just a few things happened when previous Clipper teams were about to turn the corner:
1986 - Derek Smith blows out his ACL. Smith, who was only 35 when he died of a heart attack in 1996, was one of the budding stars of the Clips averaging 26 ppg and 8 rebounds.
1988 - Norm Nixon tears his right Achilles playing in a softball game in Central Park
1989 - Danny Manning, who was in the middle of a rookie-of-the-year season, blows out his ACL
1989 – Trying to comeback, Norn Nixon tears his left Achilles on the final day of training camp
1989 - After coming over in a terrific trade (for that stiff Danny Ferry who refused to play for the Clippers), Ron Harper who was averaging nearly 28 ppg blows out his ACL. Although he spent many more years in the NBA (4 with the Clips) and won rings with the Bulls and Lakers, Harper was never again the “skywalker” player that brought comparisons to Michael Jordon.
2003 - Lamar Odom, who was coming into his own is suspended for failing a drug test. He ended up playing out the final year of his contact and signed with Miami in the offseason
2007 - Shawn Livingston knee blows up. In one of the ugliest and heartbreaking moments in team history, the young guard planted his foot, came down awkwardly and was gone from action for two years. Doctors said they had never seen and injury as horrific as this before.
As bad as those instances were, maybe the one that brings the closest comparison to this season is 2002-03 season. First, let’s go back to the previous year. The Clippers fielded their most exciting team up to that point. They acquired Elton Brand from the Bulls. They also traded for Corey Maggette. They drafted Keyon Dooling, Quinten Richardson and one of the prizes of the draft – high school phenom Darius Miles. Add that to young Lamar Odom, Michael Olawakindi and Jeff McGinnis and the Clippers were really fun to watch. They had great chemistry and had a real joy of playing.
Now, I am not trying to bring anyone down. And I don’t see and Andre Miller situation happening with Chris Paul. And even if it did, I think Chauncey Billips would nip it in the bud. My point is Clipper fans, we have to wait to see how the season plays out. As fun as all of this is – and it is a lot of fun seeing all of the attention the Clippers are getting – it’s still a work in progress.
So, enjoy this season. But let’s not place them in the finals yet. It’s a long season. Well, sort of long with 66 games. Let’s hope the guys stay healthy and keep getting better. Be cautious. As you have seen in this posting, strange things have happened to this team before.